Fox News Sunday will host a retired general with a record of Islamophobic comments that drew criticism from President George W. Bush to provide "expert" commentary on the recent decision to allow women in the armed forces to serve in combat roles.
According to a promotion that ran on Fox News, retired Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin will appear on the January 27 edition of Fox's flagship Sunday morning political news show. The ad describes Boykin as providing "expert insight" on whether women serving in combat is "the right move going forward."
As we've previously noted:
Boykin received international attention in 2003 after the Los Angeles Times and NBC News reported on speeches he had given in full military dress at religious events suggesting that the United States was fighting a "spiritual battle" in the Middle East against "a guy called Satan" who "wants to destroy us as a Christian army." Boykin also said of a Somali fighter who said that Allah would protect him from Americans, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."
(Boykin later apologized and claimed that he had meant that the man's God was "money and power.")
Boykin's remarks drew widespread criticism, including from President Bush, who said that Boykin "doesn't reflect my point of view or the point of view of this administration." Later that year a Defense Department investigation found that Boykin's speeches had violated regulations and called for the taking of "appropriate corrective action." In 2010, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Boykin to testify on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, then revoked that invitation following media reports of the pending testimony, with a spokesman stating that the 2003 comments "would be used to distract" from Kagan's record.
Following his retirement, Boykin has continued to offer up Islamophobic commentary, saying that "Islam itself is not just a religion -- it is a totalitarian way of life," which "should not be protected under the First Amendment"; calling for "no mosques in America" because a "mosque is an embassy for Islam and they recognize only a global caliphate, not the sanctity or sovereignty of the United States"; and stating that "Islam is evil."
Because of this history of rhetoric, the announcement that he had been selected to host a prayer breakfast at the United States Military Academy at West Point last year drew criticism from cadets, faculty, Muslim organizations, and progressive veterans groups, ultimately forcing him to withdraw.
Boykin, now executive vice president at the Family Research Council, opposes allowing women to serve in combat units, calling the decision to allow them to do so a "social experiment" from people who "have never lived nor fought with an infantry or Special Forces unit" -- a critique similar to his rationale for opposing the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The decision to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule came after the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously supported that policy.